Mixed reaction to Stewart conviction; appeal pending

[JURIST] Reaction to Thursday's jury conviction [JURIST report] of civil rights attorney Lynne Stewart for assisting client Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman to communicate with his terrorist followers has been somewhat mixed. The National Lawyers Guild [official site] to which Stewart belongs quickly condemned the verdict [NLG press release] and the message it sent to attorneys that represent unpopular clients, asserting that the "government is bent on intimidating attorneys from providing zealous representation to unpopular clients." Other lawyers, however, suggested that Stewart had gone too far - Roger Williams law professor Peter Margulies told AP: "I think lawyers need to be advocates but they don't need to be accomplices". Stewart's defense website has no new information at this time, but asks viewers to "keep checking for updates." AP has more on reaction to the verdict. Stewart says she will appeal.

1:15 PM ET - Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official bio] has called the verdict against Stewart "an important step in the Justice Department’s war on terrorism." Gonzales also said the conviction sends "a clear, unmistakable message that this Department will pursue both those who carry out acts of terrorism and those who assist them with their murderous goals." Read Gonzales' statement [text].

2:20 PM ET - Stewart and her attorney Michael Tigar gave an interview [transcript] Friday with Democracy Now. Indicating Stewart's intent to appeal, Tigar said:

Three weeks from yesterday, we will file post-trial motions analyzing some of the legal issues and evidentiary issues for Judge Koeltl to rule on. If he denies those motions, then the sentencing will go forward on July 15 and after that an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and on beyond. So we are less than halfway, let us say, through this very long struggle in the legal system.
Recorded audio of the interview is also available. Stewart's defense website has now posted the transcript of Stewart's conviction.

 

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